Smart growth news – October 28

Advocates Say Housing Policy Discourages Mixed-Use Development
Governing Magazine, October 27, 2011
Ask members of Generation Y where they want to live, and chances are you’ll hear a common answer: urban environments where there is plenty to do within walking distance. For younger people (and many other Americans, for that matter), the cul-de-sac is no longer key.

Economy Alters How Americans Are Moving
New York Times, October 27, 2011
“When times get really hard it gets really hard for people to up and move,” said Kenneth M. Johnson, the senior demographer at the Carsey Institute, who conducted the analysis…Mr. Johnson said that the same phenomenon could be seen within states, as the growth began to slow in once rapidly growing suburbs, and shrinking cities like Los Angeles and Chicago began to stabilize.

The Design of Cities, Intelligent or Otherwise
New York Times, October 27, 2011
Those of us who live in cities — more than half the world’s population, according to many recent estimates — experience them mainly at eye and street level. Each urban environment has its own character and can therefore seem more like the result of natural processes than of complex human intentions. A city develops organically, through the complex interplay of economics, biology and countless local, individual decisions, but also by means of planning on the part of architects, engineers and politicians.

Gov. Rick Snyder plans to improve transportation, attract young people
The State News (Mich.), October 26, 2011
In an effort to retain more young people in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder said he will begin taking steps to improve transportation in the state’s southeast corner, hoping to attract more young people to the Detroit area.

Plano Plans for Transit-Oriented Redevelopment
NBC Dallas, October 26, 2011
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Parker Road Station in Plano is the end of its line, but its location could soon be the beginning of redevelopment. “Public transit is where the city sees its future lie,” said.

Congestion, walkability called keys to municipal success
Central Penn Business Journal, October 27, 2011
Successful city and town economies are “complex, and a little bit messy,” he said. Norquist emphasized that streets designed in grids are important to local economic and social structure. Lancaster and other municipalities in the county have done a good job of maintaining their rich architectural history and Main Street-like areas, he said.

New building codes on tap for Riverside
KXAN (Texas), October 27, 2011
The city of Austin is forging ahead on a plan approved last year to transform East Riverside into a more inviting place for pedestrians, bikes, bus riders and urban rail. “A lot of it was built in the 1960s,” said Erica Leak with the City of Austin’s Planning and Development Department. “It was really just designed more for automobiles than for people.”

New housing units coming to Congress Street
Boston Globe, October 27, 2011
The Boston Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved a proposal to construct new housing units on Congress Street in South Boston. The mixed-use development at 381 Congress St. will turn the existing five-story warehouse into 44 housing units with ground-floor retail. Berkeley Investment Inc. is heading up the project.

Mount Rainier seeks law change, solutions to vacant properties (Md.), October 27, 2011
Alonzo Washington, legislative aide to County Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2), said the councilman’s office plans to speak with Mount Rainier about its concern regarding vacant property laws. “We are more than happy to do whatever it takes to secure these vacant properties to maintain properties,” Washington said. “These are blight in our community and lead to vagrants and decreased property values. It’s something that we’re more than willing to work on for city and the county.”

Coalition members in the news

Group wants to open north woods
Waterville Morning Sentinel (Maine), October 28, 2011
Nancy Smith, executive director of GrowSmart Maine, has seen the issue from both sides. A former Democratic state lawmaker who served on the Agriculture committee, she also worked in northern Maine as a forester. GrowSmart, the group she now leads, advocates responsible development. “How do we adequately balance the need for a robust economy there and the need to protect the natural resources that make that such an amazing place?” she said.

Opinion and Editorial

High-speed rail an engine for economic vitality
Capitol Weekly (Calif.), October 27, 2011
The upcoming release of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s business plan on Tuesday marks a major milestone for the future of our state. With millions of Californians unemployed and the economy in a slump, the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce believes the state’s high speed rail project offers not only a common sense solution to help meet our transportation infrastructure needs, but a powerful force for creating jobs and economic growth that California cannot afford to pass up. Hispanic small businesses as well as all small businesses have much to gain from this opportunity.